Picking out a fork was quote possibly the hardest thing about this build, or any Merlin for that matter. Not a whole lot seems right and most everything just look wrong. In the end I went with a Koski fork. I like the Accutrax look, but felt that a stiff, straight blade fork like that might feel a bit harsh on an otherwise supple frame like a Merlin. I am going to try a straight blade Koski fork on Merlin #50, it seems like it might be a bit less harsh than an Accutrax.
Salsa stem and a Merlin bar are a really classic look for any bike, and feel especially correct here. I considered going with a Suntour XC-PRO build, but it seems that everytime I build a personal bike I opt for Shimano over Suntour or any of the other options out there. So, in this case I went for a straight Shimano M735 XT build. I briefly considered using Cook Bros cranks, but in the end decided to keep it simple.
WTB parts are sprinkled throughout this build. I gotta say that aside from the rear brake, which is pretty freaking awesome the hubs and headset are more flash than performance.
This is the first bike that I personally picked out a roller cam for and I must say I had a bit of a struggle setting it up and I'm still not sure I got it right. Only one way to really tell though!
Yellow label Ground Controls go hand in hand with the Specialized rims and always pair up well with a WTB themed build.
WTB classic grease guard hubset completes the theme build.